Local filmmaker Judith Morrow’s first film tells the story of a very courageous and determined woman who beat the odds and cured herself of multiple sclerosis.
The Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre was packed last night for a screening and discussion with the director of the documentary The Healing of Heather Garden.
The evening began with live acoustic guitar played by Richard Tyborowski, whose music is part of the film’s soundtrack. Very pleasant way to set the mood for the evening.
Next up was Taiko drummer Phoebe Man who did a few songs. Her skillful drumming and singing was also a nice build up to the film.
Then director Judith Morrow took the stage to talk about the film. She also explained why she made the film. To hear her introduction click on this audio link:
The Healing of Heather Garden is an amazing film about a woman who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2002.
MS is a progressive disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, whose symptoms may include numbness, impairment of speech and of muscular coordination, blurred vision, and severe fatigue.
Heather had to leave her job and was given a disability pension. Her treatments were quite draining physically and emotionally.
Enter Kim Shaw from Wild Rose Emporium in Boissevain. Heather had frequented the store in the past. Kim noticed the changes in Heather and offered some advice on building her immune system.
Along the way, Heather met other people who shared natural remedies with her including drinking charcoal water.
One day when Heather was in her garden she said she heard a voice. It was her voice telling her to take a vacation. She flew to Mexico and started swimming. And though she was having difficulty walking at that point, swimming in the ocean seemed to be the best physiotherapy for her. Each day she felt the strength coming back to her legs.
Doctors had told Heather that she would need to take about $10,000 worth of medication every year for the rest of her life. The disability pension insurer told her if she went ‘the natural way’ they would cut off her benefits.
Heather’s determination and conviction paid off, as she now lives a normal, healthy life.
In 2015, The Healing of Heather Garden won two awards at film festivals in Indonesia. Heather was also there and received an award for Most Inspirational Woman of the Year which Judith presented her with.
After the film, Judith shared some telegrams from various people from around the world. The first one was from Heather Garden. The other telegrams were from authors who wrote books on the subject. To listen to the telegrams and to hear Director Judith Morrow’s closing remarks, please click the audio link below:
I had met Judith Morrow about 10 years ago when she started this project. I was very intrigued with the story as I had a similar experience after I had an accident. We got together and went through hours and hours of the raw footage and interviews she already had, deciding on which footage worked and which footage didn’t.
After much work and help from many in the film industry, Judith’s documentary was released in 2013. The film has gone on to win 15 awards after being screened in 23 film festivals around the world. It will be part of the Madrid Film Festival July 4 of this year.
My injury involved nerve damage to my knee. The doctors told me I would never walk properly again. The pain was severe and it was hard to walk more than 10 minutes at a time. This led to depression as I realized that I could no longer enjoy doing things I loved doing such as hiking, biking and walking.
The year was 2007 when my injury happened and I was about to embark on a journey with The Walking Monk as his support driver for his walk across Canada. After two weeks on the journey, I told him that I didn’t think I could go through with the walk. Although I was taking heavy painkillers, it just seemed like too much to handle. The monk said some prayers for me and encouraged me to “stay positive.”
I had a revelation. I strongly believe that things happen for a reason and there is a lesson to be learned from every experience. I accepted the fact that I may not be able to walk properly and that I would have to face that reality.
I thought that the lesson being shown to me was to ‘slow down’. When I hurt myself, I was rushing around moving furniture.
A couple weeks later, I was walking perfectly.
I believe a few factors helped with my recovery:
2. Positive thinking
3. Acceptance of what had happened and learning from my experience
4. Not giving up
5. Having more faith in myself as opposed to believing what the doctor told me
So, like Heather Garden, with determination and conviction, it’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.
“The doctors told her she’d never walk again, now she runs.”
Some resources on the subject:
Who Said So? – A Woman’s Journey of Self- Discovery and Complete Recovery From Multiple Sclerosis by Rachell Breslow
The Wahls Protocols- a Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles by Terry Wahls, M.D.
Hope Beyond Illness – A Guide to Living Well With a Chronic Condition by Shulamit Lando
Visit Judith’s Facebook page: TheHealingOfHeatherGarden
Photos and audio by Doug Kretchmer